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21 customer service KPIs every support team needs to track

Customer service KPIs can provide insight into the effectiveness of your customer support. Discover the 21 most important metrics to track below.

By David Birchmier, CEO of Tymeshift

Last updated April 25, 2024

Photography by Olivier Charland

What are customer service KPIs?

Customer service key performance indicators (KPIs) are important metrics that help customer support teams track and optimize performance. Businesses can use these figures to fine-tune operations, improve agent productivity, and better understand their customer interactions.

Most modern businesses have realized they must provide an outstanding customer experience (CX) to compete in the marketplace. While there are many ways you can do that—offering self-service resources, comprehensive support, and personalized experiences, to name a few—you may not see the true impact of those efforts without a way to track them.

Customer service KPIs are performance metrics businesses can use to evaluate their CX efforts, analyze their support agents’ effectiveness, and develop better relationships with their customers. This guide details the 21 most important customer service KPIs you should track to hit your business goals.

More in this guide:

Top customer service KPIs

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service KPIs. Your business needs and priorities are different from those of other organizations. So, we’ve included 21 different statistics to ensure you’ll find something of value.

1. Average resolution time

Average resolution time is the time it takes a customer service representative to solve a support ticket once it gets created.

You can calculate this metric by determining the average time to solve all tickets over a specified time range. For example, let’s say you’re calculating the average resolution time for an eight-hour shift. Simply divide the total time needed to solve the tickets by the number of tickets solved.

Average resolution time = Total time needed to solve all tickets / Total number of tickets solved

2. Occupancy

Occupancy is the percentage or amount of time your customer service team spends actively assisting customers and resolving tickets. This metric helps managers determine if their agents are too busy or not busy enough and includes activities like:

  • Answering customer chats

  • Engaging in customer phone conversations

  • Tackling ticket backlogs

Occupancy = (Total handling time / Total time logged in) x 100

3. First response time

First response time, also known as first reply time (FRT), is how long it takes a customer service representative to respond to a support ticket once a customer submits it. This customer service KPI indicates how well your agents can handle multiple tickets at once, as well as their efficiency in managing fluctuating ticket volumes.

To calculate this metric, add all the time your support reps took to respond to tickets and divide that by the total number of tickets. For example, let’s say employee A took 20 seconds to respond to a ticket, employee B took 15 seconds, and employee C took 30 seconds. The first response time would be 65 seconds divided by three, or 21.67 seconds.

First response time = Total first response time/Number of resolved tickets

4. First contact resolution

First contact resolution (FCR), sometimes known as one-touch resolution, is the percentage of customer tickets that agents resolve on the first interaction with that customer. In other words, there’s no need to transfer customers to other support agents or follow up later.

First contact resolution = Total number of one-touch tickets / Total number of tickets received

5. Tickets handled per hour

Tickets handled per hour is a help desk metric that shows how many tickets an agent opens and interacts with over an hour. This metric highlights how effectively an agent can handle inquiries. Calculate it by adding together the number of tickets an agent handles in an hour.

6. Tickets solved per hour

Tickets solved per hour is how many tickets were resolved and closed within that same time frame. As with tickets handled per hour, this metric can detail how effectively a support agent operates. To calculate, add together the number of tickets solved per hour.

7. Customer satisfaction score

A customer satisfaction (CSAT) score is a customer service report that measures how well a company’s products, services, and overall customer experience meet customer expectations. CSAT scores are crucial because a higher score typically reflects a higher customer retention rate and lower customer churn.

You can measure customer satisfaction in several ways, including:

  • Conducting customer surveys
  • Hosting focus groups

  • Monitoring customer engagement on social media

  • Measuring response rates like FRT and FCR

  • Evaluating customer churn

These are a few of the most popular ways to evaluate your customer satisfaction, but you can choose any method that’s most relevant to your business.

8. Customer Effort Score

Customer Effort Score (CES) refers to the effort a customer has to expend to get what they want from your business. This could be how long it takes them to find an answer in your knowledge base, get a resource from your support team, or any amount of time spent interacting with your company.

Companies typically measure Customer Effort Scores through CES surveys—customer-facing questions about their experience with your support team, like:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how easy was it to resolve your issue with us today?

  • Is there any way we could’ve helped you better?

  • Were you able to accomplish your goal (yes or no)?

Teams can then use the answers to these surveys to determine the state of their customer support.

9. Employee satisfaction

Employee engagement surveys can help measure how happy your support team members are in their roles and with your business. It can refer to how confident they feel in their job title, how supported they feel regarding development and promotions, their work-life balance, and more.

Teams can measure employee satisfaction through:

  • One-on-one meetings

  • Employee satisfaction surveys

  • Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

It’s important to have open communication with your employees to ensure they are satisfied with their careers and performing to the best of their abilities.

10. Net Promoter Score®

Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a survey that businesses use to measure customer loyalty. A NPS survey collects customer feedback on a scale of 1-10. It typically focuses on a variation of one question: “How likely are you to recommend our product to others?” First created in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, these one-question surveys have become commonplace for organizations that want to evaluate how effective their customer experience is.

11. Cost per resolution

Cost per resolution is the culmination of expenses associated with providing customer service. This can include several variables like:

  • Support agent salaries

  • Overhead costs

  • Third-party software or similar tools

You can calculate cost per resolution by dividing the total cost of customer support by the issues resolved in a given period.

Cost per resolution = Total cost of customer support / Total number of issues resolved

12. Abandon rate

Abandon rate, often referred to as call abandonment rate, is a call center KPI that reflects the number of customers that hang up while on hold with customer support. You can calculate this percentage by finding the difference between calls received and handled calls, then dividing that by the number of calls received.

Call abandonment rate = [(Number of calls received – Number of calls handled) / Number of calls received] x 100

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13. Customer churn

Customer churn rate is the percentage of customers who stop doing business with your company over time. There are several ways of calculating churn rate:

  • Customer churn: The basic churn formula measures customers lost over a given period.
  • Gross revenue churn: A formula that shows how customer churn affects revenue.
  • Adjusted churn: This factors in customer acquisition to give a more accurate picture of churn for growing businesses.
  • Seasonal churn: It’s the preferred churn calculation for seasonal businesses and other organizations with predictable highs and lows in demand.

To calculate the standard customer churn rate, divide the number of customers lost during a period by the total number of customers at the start.

Customer churn rate = (Customers lost during a period / Total number of customers at the start of a period) x 100

14. Ticket reopens

Ticket reopens represents how many times a ticket or incident needs to be reopened by a support agent. This metric shines a light on the status of a company’s operations, as a high level of reopened tickets can indicate problems with the product or customer experience.

15. Agent touches

Agent touches refer to any time a member of your support team interacts with a ticket. Each business will define this metric differently, but it typically includes actions like:

  • Replying to customers or commenting on a ticket

  • Giving updates to customers or internal team members

  • Closing, submitting, reopening, or reassigning tickets

While definitions vary, agent touches generally refer to when an employee actively makes a change on a ticket.

16. Number of replies

This customer service KPI is the number of replies it takes for customer service agents to close a customer ticket. And regarding consumer interaction, the less back-and-forth, the better. So, if your organization has fewer replies, that may indicate an effective and knowledgeable support team.

17. Requester wait time

Requester wait time is the length of time that a support ticket spends in new, open, and on-hold statuses. This metric accounts for how long the requester (aka the customer) has to wait for a support agent’s response during the ticket’s life.

18. Next issue avoidance

Next issue avoidance is a customer support metric that calculates how frequently customers have to open support tickets for the same problem. If a customer has to contact customer support multiple times before an agent solves their issue, that will negatively impact next issue avoidance.

It’s smart to pair this metric with first contact resolution as they often correlate. If both figures are below your standards, it may indicate an issue with support processes or necessitate further employee training.

19. Customer retention rate

Customer retention rate measures the number of customers that stay loyal to your business over time. Organizations should prioritize customer experience and a customer-first approach to improve retention.

While customer retention does have its own formula, there are a few other statistics that can help measure how well you retain customers, like:

  • Customer churn

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Repeat customer rate

  • Purchase frequency rate

To measure customer retention directly, use the following formula:

Customer retention rate = [(Customers at the end of a period – New customers acquired during a period) / Customers at the start of the period] x 100

20. Volume by channel

Volume by channel refers to the amount of support tickets that come in by call, email, chat, and any other support mediums you engage in. Businesses today opt for omnichannel experiences, and volume by channel can help you keep track of where your customers are contacting you.

21. Agent feedback

Agent feedback refers to the thoughts and opinions of your workforce. Organizations can collect this feedback through surveys and meetings to gauge employee morale and potentially gather suggestions for product or process improvements.

Best practices for achieving customer service KPIs

Businesses need a strategic approach when tracking and achieving the customer service KPIs listed above. And, while every operation is different, organizations should follow a few universal principles to best achieve their goals.

Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Clearly define your goals: Don’t just say you want to improve your first response time. Instead, say you want to improve your first response time by five seconds by the next quarter. The more specific your goals, the more successful you will be.
  • Invest in agent training: Provide your agents with ongoing training and development to enhance their capabilities. Skilled support agents are more likely to deliver efficient and effective service.
  • Monitor and analyze performance: Regularly track and analyze your KPIs to ensure you’re on track to hit your goals. If you aren’t, identify potential bottlenecks in your support structure and implement the necessary changes.
  • Encourage customer feedback: Actively seek customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and other channels. You can use this information to improve your processes to better serve your customers.

Of course, there are other ways to achieve your goals, but if you use these steps as a springboard, you’ll be sure to find success in your support efforts.

Frequently asked questions

Use customer support KPIs to drive the CX

Customer service KPIs are important statistics businesses should use to evaluate their CX efforts, the performance of their support team, and more. That said, you need a way to track them efficiently—and the best way to do that is with a reliable CX partner.

At Zendesk, we are experts in the customer experience. We offer features like comprehensive agent workspaces, reporting and analytics, and more to ensure your team provides outstanding support to every customer.

Try us out for free today.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of NICE Satmetrix, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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